A new Georgia law that increases the age of children, who need to be safely restrained in booster seats from 6 to 8, went into effect on July 1.This law now increases the number of child passengers who are required to be restrained in booster seats, thereby protecting these children from fatal injuries in the event of a car accident.
Under the law, your six or seven-year-old will also be required to be strapped into a booster seat.The law will exempt any children from the booster seat rules if they measured at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.Other exemptions apply, but they are limited to vehicles without shoulder straps and for children who medically cannot be restrained in a booster seat.
Current car accident statistics from around the country underscore the need for the law.According to data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto accidents are the number one cause of death for children between the age of three and fourteen.In 2009 alone, 909 children above the age of five, and ten children below the age of four were killed in Georgia accidents.
Failure to properly restrain children in safety seats or booster seats account for a high number of accident-related deaths and injuries every year.According to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, over the past four years, an overwhelming majority of the 6 to 8-year-old children who suffered injuries in accidents was not properly restrained at the time of the accident.
The biggest danger to children comes if they are restrained in adult protective systems like seatbelt systems when they’re too young for these.Earlier, booster seats were not required for children between age six and eight, and these children were often restrained in seatbelts.According to safety experts, seatbelts are most effective when they are used to safeguard adults, and offer little protection to children who are smaller in size.
With the change in the law, Georgia has joined a club of more than thirty states that now require children between the age of six and eight to be restrained in booster seats.Law-enforcement agencies in Georgia are now embarking on an awareness campaign to educate more parents about the need to restrain their children safely to prevent injuries in accidents.The law may have limited efficacy if parents continue to remain unaware about the dangers of allowing children to be restrained in seatbelts.
Violations of the law come with penalties.A first offense will come with a fine of $50 and a single point on the license.For a subsequent violation, the penalty will be increased to $100, and violators will receive two points on the license.
If you’re a parent of a child in the 6 to 8 age group, Atlanta car accident lawyers would recommend that you learn about the new laws as quickly as possible.If you have any doubts about the right way to restrain your child in the car, check with your local police station or sheriff’s office.You can also contact Georgia State Patrol for more information.